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Quebecers to lead in demos this weekend

Over a dozen Quebec cities are joining groups around the world this Saturday in alter-globalization demonstrations called by the World Social Forum.

Instead of a meeting of the World Social Forum this year, international groups have called for a day of action to condemn neoliberalism.

Stephan Corriveau, national program coordinator for Alternatives, a sponsor of the Montreal demonstrations and events, said the demonstrations are mobilizing around peace, environment, and social rights.

“We needed to choose issues that would mobilize as many people as possible,” Corriveau said.

The World Social Forums began in 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to counter the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. It is an alter-globalization meeting organized by various social movements, networks, non-governmental organizations, and other civil society organizations.

Since their inception, other regional forums have been held, including in Montreal in August.

The Quebec-wide actions, called La neige brûle, are planned in Montreal as well as more than a dozen other locations across Quebec. Demonstrations are also planned in Vancouver and Toronto.

“The rest of Canada has been a bit slower to get involved, but Quebec has been very active,” Corriveau said.

Around 20 Montreal-based groups are participating in the demonstrations this Saturday, which begin at 4 p.m. at Phillips Square.

Alternatives, the Quebec Women’s Centre, the Confederation des syndicats nationaux (CSN), and CKUT-Radio are organizing a party afterward, at the Society of Arts and Technology, at 8 p.m.

– Kelly Ebbels

New Safety office streamlines security

The creation of a new department of University Safety this school year has streamlined services in security, fire prevention, waste management, and environmental services – and brought an increase of security officers on campus during the daytime.

According to Louise Savard, Director of University Safety, the office has been making changes in Security Services to ensure effective use of its $3-million budget.

Changes in remote security – including the phasing in of remote locks on doors over the past five years – have freed up more security officers for daytime shifts, Savard explained.

“In the past we had many, many agents to go around at night, making sure doors were locked,” Savard said.

The change has freed up more security officers for daytime shifts, and allowed University Safety to hire an additional foot patroller this year.

But Savard insisted that overall, the University’s security coverage would remain consistent.

“Security coverage should not change,” Savard said. “The University will not be giving us more money.”

Security Services also drafted an emergency procedure plan this year, for both the downtown and Macdonald campuses. SSMU has their own version for procedures within the Shatner building.

Savard said members of the McGill community – including students – were consulted during a preliminary drafting this summer, and will be consulted again before the plan is finalized.

Security Services have also undertaken a more active training program with officers, as new officers receive more hands-on and classroom instruction, Savard said.

– Erin Hale